Data is all around us; every action we take creates data of some kind for someone.
Each time you visit a store and purchase an item, you contribute data to a sales report. When you fill in your details on a census form, you contribute to society’s demographic data. When you click a sponsored ad on Facebook, you contribute to someone’s weekly marketing report.
All this activity amounts to a lot of data; to be specific, internet users generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day.
The rate of data generation has been increasing rapidly over the years, but where did it all start? Where did data first come from, and how has our understanding and interpretation changed over time?
Historians have discovered that humans were collecting and interpreting data way before you may think. Early records of rudimentary scratchings on bones and sticks show that our ancestors attempted to keep tally accounts back in 19000 BCE.
These efforts are obviously a world away from our current data-driven experiences, where digital technology has forced businesses to become more obsessive with data than ever before. The marketing industry in particular has increasingly pushed towards using data to deliver more personalised and automated customer experiences.
Data-driven marketing has the potential to:
- Improve customer experience
- Increase marketing engagement
- Boost customer retention
- Inform product development
- Enhance revenue generation
All of these benefits, and the availability of data, are exactly why marketers strive to incorporate big data into their strategies more heavily now than in the past few years or even decades. But to do this successfully, we need first to understand what data is and how data has evolved to become the monster industry today.
Check out this handy infographic to discover a brief history of data from the ancient world to the present day:
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